Book of History  


From the Higher Trade School to the Polytechnic

Today’s Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University was founded on 2nd May 1831. As the Higher Trade School it started its teaching activities with 64 students in the Bornemannsches Haus next to the Marktkirche in the historic city centre. Students had to be at least 15 years old if they wished to attend the Higher Trade School, where they would learn a trade ...

Picture: Bornemannsches Haus Picture: Bornemannsches Haus Picture: Bornemannsches Haus
Bornemannsches Haus

The Polytechnic in its Heyday

When the 1848 Revolution reached Hannover, the polytechnic students stood as one united corps in the Citizens’ Militia. One of them was the sixteen-year-old Wilhelm Busch, who wanted to become a mechanical engineer ...

Picture: The polytechnic students’ corps, 1848 Picture: The polytechnic students’ corps, 1848 Picture: The polytechnic students’ corps, 1848
The polytechnic students’ corps, 1848

The Polytechnic in the Time of Radical Change

In 1866 Prussia annexed the Kingdom of Hannover. It became a Prussian province. Prussian legislation led to substantial liberalisation. After the foundation of the Empire in 1871, economic development was stimulated further, and many new industrial plants were created. The downside of advancing industrialisation was an increase in social problems ...

Picture: Christuskirche Picture: Christuskirche Picture: Christuskirche
The Christuskirche near the Welfenschloss

On the Way to Becoming an Institute of Technology

The number of subjects taught doubled between 1875 and 1897. New areas such as shipbuilding were introduced. The academic staff grew accordingly. On 1st April 1879 the Polytechnic was awarded the official title “Hannover Royal Institute of Technology.”

With the Institute of Technology’s constitution, which came into force in 1880, one of the major differences between Hannover and the other German technical institutions was removed. The radically new constitution reorganised the Institute of Technology into five specialised departments: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Electrical Engineering, as well as General Sciences ...

Picture: Invitation Picture: Invitation Picture: Invitation
Invitation to the celebration of this event, 6th October 1879

The Fight for Equality with the Universities

The transfer of responsibility for the institutes of technology from the Department of Trade to the Department of Education paved the way for transition from a specialised institute to a broader scientific institution. Institutes of technology did not yet possess such crucial attributes as the right to confer doctorates, which would put them on an equal footing with the universities ...

Picture: Students of mechanical engineering with their teachers Picture: Students of mechanical engineering with their teachers Picture: Students of mechanical engineering with their teachers
Students of mechanical engineering with their teachers

Reform of Higher Education in the Weimar Republic

When the First World War broke out, 910 out of 998 students at Hannover Institute of Technology signed up for military service in the first year of the war. Almost a quarter of these were to die in the course of the war. Since several generations of young people were not able to study during this time, soldiers returning from the war crowded into the Institute of Technology after the war was over ...

Picture: Students in the library, 1927 Picture: Students in the library, 1927 Picture: Students in the library, 1927
Students in the library, 1927

Radicalisation of the Student Body

From the mid 1920s, the Hannover student body was becoming more and more radical, led by nationalistic ideology and culminating in the notorious “Lessing case”. From 1908 the Jewish Privatdozent (private lecturer) for Philosophy, Theodor Lessing, held lectures in the Department of General Sciences ...

 

 

Picture: Fraternity students chase Theodor Lessing in the Georgengarten, 1926 Picture: Fraternity students chase Theodor Lessing in the Georgengarten, 1926 Picture: Fraternity students chase Theodor Lessing in the Georgengarten, 1926
Fraternity students chase Theodor Lessing in the Georgengarten, 1926

Hannover Institute of Technology in the Nazi Era

In 1933 the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service came into force, creating the instruments to remove non-Arians and other undesirables from office. At Hannover Institute of Technology only few cleansings are known, as hardly any non-Arians had been appointed ...

 

 

Picture: Demonstration against the Peace Treaty of Versailles Picture: Demonstration against the Peace Treaty of Versailles Picture: Demonstration against the Peace Treaty of Versailles
Demonstration against the Peace Treaty of Versailles

Destruction and Reconstruction of Hannover Institute of Technology

During the Second World War, major parts of the Institute of Technology were destroyed in air raids. More than half of the Welfenschloss lay in ruins. Of the remaining more than 20 separate buildings, only five were complete and the rest destroyed to a greater or smaller extent ...

 

 

Picture: Hannover Institute of Technology in ruins Picture: Hannover Institute of Technology in ruins Picture: Hannover Institute of Technology in ruins
Hannover Institute of Technology in ruins, 1943

From the Institute of Technology to the Technical University

After a general agreement had been passed in 1964 on the reorganisation of teaching in the sixth forms of Gymnasien, teacher training became the key issue of all further university expansion plans. Student numbers, which had remained almost constant at 4,000 to 5,000 until 1967, rocketed ...

Picture: Funeral procession for Benno Ohnesorg Picture: Funeral procession for Benno Ohnesorg Picture: Funeral procession for Benno Ohnesorg
Funeral procession for Benno Ohnesorg in Hannover, 9th June 1967

From the Technical University to the University of Hannover

When the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act came into force on 1st October 1978, the College of Education for Lower Saxony / Hannover was incorporated, and the Technical University changed its name to the University of Hannover. With the College of Education, the university gained an educational establishment with a long tradition reaching back into the 18th century and associated with the name of Ernst Christoph Böttcher, the founder of the teacher training college in Hannover ...

 

 

Picture: Handing over the keys Conti-Campus Picture: Handing over the keys Conti-Campus Picture: Handing over the keys Conti-Campus
Handing over the keys Conti-Campus

From the University of Hannover to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University Hannover

For universities in Lower Saxony, 2000 was dominated by discussions concerning the draught of the Gesetz zur Hochschulreform in Niedersachsen, the Lower Saxony University Reform Law. Both Council and Senate delivered opinions on this. The new bachelor’s and master’s degrees could soon be taken in many subjects. The university started the accreditation of new degree programmes ...

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